While fans of the zombie show Z-Nation, which was unfortunately stopped dead in its tracks at the end of Season 5 on Syfy this past fall, have awaited the debut of what they assumed was going to be a similarly written show, Black Summer made its Netflix debut on April 11 and while many of the amazing Z-Nation writers are on board for this Z spinoff, the show has proven to be a stand alone show packed with never-ending action, incredible characters and zombies that move faster than many die-hard zombie fans expected.
SPOILER ALERT! If you have not yet watched Black Summer, you may want to stop here until you have the chance. Just know that the show gets a big thumbs up from Writing Mind and we hope you sit down this weekend with a big bag of popcorn and settle in for a binge watch!
Episode One opens with Rose, as we learn her name because the show writers made sure that as each lead character is introduced, their name pops up on the screen. This is great for those who are name challenged when it comes to recalling character names. Wouldn’t it be great, albeit nerdish, if people in the real world came with name tags that popped up when we met them?
Let’s pause for a second to thank the writing team for their well-written work. People often forget the writers, without whom there would be no television series or movie without. So, without further ado, many thanks to writers including Delondra Williams, Karl Shaefer, Craig Engler, Daniel Shaefer, Abram Cox and John Hyams, all of whom also wrote for the Z-Nation series.
Check out the Black Summer on YouTube here:
Rose, played by actress Jaime King who many may know from the television series Transformers: Power of the Prime or Robot Chicken as well as films such as Oceans Eight and My Bloody Valentine 3D amongst more than twenty other films and television shows, along with her husband, Patrick and daughter, Anna are attempting to board a military truck headed for the local stadium where the government has assumingly guaranteed safety from what appears to be a major emergency situation.
Let’s be honest here, it was disheartening to realize that Ty Olsen, who plays Rose’s husband Patrick, wasn’t going to be a regular on the show. He has an impressive resume and fans have loved watching him over the years in hit shows including Supernatural and The 100 as well as films like The Shack and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. His character did however help add a major amount of depth to Kings character because we get to see her interact as a caring wife and mother before the realities of the zombie takeover forces her become a badass zombie fighting mama who will stop at nothing to find her daughter.
Have we not learned from every zombie show ever made that we cannot trust the military during a zombie apocalypse? This doesn’t change with Black Summer because we quickly realize that the military has (as in most zombie laden shows) lost leadership and it’s up to the citizens to survive on their own.
During the opening scene, we find that Rose’s husband has a bite mark that causes the soldiers to deny him entry onto the truck, and while a scuffle begins, their daughter Anna is taken on the truck along with other survivors while Rose and Patrick are left behind. It’s a well-bitten, oops, I mean written, problem and one that zombie fans have seen repeatedly over the years in every zombie show and film created.
Rose eventually meets a soldier named Spears, who is unbeknownst to her a criminal who is impersonating a soldier and the two begin traveling together and over time, the duo meets other lead characters including Kyungsun (Sun) played by actress Christine Lee along with characters Ryan, William, Lance and a few others who unfortunately, don’t all make it to the end of season one.
Black Summer is non-stop action and even includes a final episode where it seemed like no words were spoken throughout the entire episode (I counted 12 actually, but I could be wrong since math is not my stronger suit) yet the writing team was able to script so well that even with very little dialogue between the characters, you won’t want to walk away from your television set or computer monitor to take a break. This is a binge-worthy series and now that I’ve finished watching, I must wonder how many months the wait will be for season two.
The series, from start to finish of season one is well-scripted and takes time to introduce each main character so viewers can at least catch a glimpse of where they were when the zombie apocalypse was in the early stages. Some have said this show was going to be a prequel to the Z-Nation series, but since Z-Nation was not emotionally dramatic and was a gorefest at times and was also extremely comedic, fans may be surprised to see there is no comedy (thus far) with Black Summer.
This show is intense, dramatic and relentlessly action packed and violent just as one might believe a zombie apocalypse would be in the real world. We even see an episode that shows how children, who have seemingly lost their parents and adult supervision, have adapted to the world as it is now and have become almost feral in a sense as they trap unsuspecting adults inside a school for the sheer thrill of harming them. It’s a power trip akin to how life works in the real world, however, in the real world we don’t have the flesh eating zombies to leave a trail of bloody gore and murderous scenes rampaging down the sidewalk.
This show certainly plays into the fact that during a zombie apocalypse show, one should not get too attached to any one character as anyone can be killed off at any time and still yet, the show will go on. While we don’t find deep character assessments in season one where we can yet feel an emotional tie to any one character, there is enough to form a base opinion of those we want to see continue working on the show and we now have a great start to get us to season two.
The big question now is, will Netflix go for a season two? As a fan of all things zombie, and of the talented writing team at The Asylum, I can certainly say that I personally hope to see a season two on the horizon.